Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Tag: Southern Nazarene University

20 Cultures in 20 Days

By Elizabeth


Yesterday, we bid Kia Ora (be well) to the six Southern Nazarene University students and two adult sponsors who had spent every waking hour of the past three weeks with us. What adventures we had! Over the past three weeks (technically 19 days on the ground, though 20 makes for a better blog post title 😉 ), our volunteers built intentional relationships with people who represent approximately 20 different cultures. I am not even exaggerating! It was truly an amazing (and sometimes exhausting) feat for them.

Our “uni team,” as we fondly call them, spent their weekdays volunteering at three drastically different primary schools, helping out with our playgroups, and tutoring and playing with refugee children at a couple of area after school programs. They also got to experience the many flavors of the Nazarene church in New Zealand through a culture night complete with a haka and the traditional dances of the Samoan and Cook Islands, as  well a young adult retreat (think touch rugby in the church at 2 am and a full-fledged Samoan lunch). They wrapped up their time in New Zealand by hosting an amazing mid-winter Christmas party for our Kids’ Club. It included all of the traditional American festivities and all of the traditional kiwi foods. There was so much merry making!! In each of these places, the uni team encountered an array of different cultures.

However,  it wouldn’t be a truly kiwi experience if their time with us had been all work and no play. They surfed with our favorite instructor, Surfer Steve (click on the hyper link to see their awesome surfing photos), hiked the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, wandered through the Redwoods, visited Hamilton Gardens, and made space to reflect at the Blue Spring Walkway.  Along the way, a couple of them got special nick names like “Pillows” and “Squash Bug” from Q, dubbed “Wiggle Worm,” and  all of them were loved by the small one who proudly claimed his role as a member of the team and his new nick name.

The entire experience was one that is much better told with pictures and videos than words, and we certainly have lots of them. Enjoy!





Parting Shot

While most of the world is heating up… we’re definitely not. We’ve enjoyed a spectacular autumn!





Through Their Eyes

By Elizabeth

It has been a whirlwind week around our house. 21 meals shared + 4 rounds of team building games with primary school classes + 47 puris eaten + 35 cups of tea + 3 mums groups + 2 neighborhood events + 2 caves explored through thigh-high water and thick mud + 1 Kids’ Club + 1 church service + 1 prayer meeting +1 intense mountain hike = tons of relational ministry. Our college students from Southern Nazarene University are still in the thick of it, with 4 more rounds of team-building games, 1 more event, two more church services, and plenty of Indian food left to eat over the next 4 days. I let them off the hook with writing today’s blog post, but I did borrow their team camera to give you a small snapshot of our week through their eyes.

Surprise! You’re going to New Zealand!

By Elizabeth


They six were just crazy enough to sign up for a huge surprise!

These six were just crazy enough to sign up for a huge surprise!

Surprise! You’ve won an all-expense paid trip to New Zealand! That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?! This isn’t that.

However, we have been keeping a secret. It’s the kind of secret that you plan for and you pray about. We definitely couldn’t talk about it. It most definitely didn’t involve a baby.

Last fall 21 teams of students from Jaron’s Alma Mater, Southern Nazarene University, signed up to go on short term mission trips throughout the summer. One of those teams was chosen to participate in a mystery trip to a mystery destination. They would find out their destination as they prepared to leave for the airport, bags fully packed, passports in hand. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, we were plotting and planning and praying for their arrival.

On Monday, those six (4 students + two graduates) found out they would be flying from Oklahoma City to Dallas to Sydney to Auckland! Surprise! You’re going to New Zealand! A little over 24 hours later, we met them at their destination. Everything but one lowly suitcase made it. We offered its owner a toothbrush.

The next two weeks will be busy ones for them (and us). We have a lot on the agenda that will provide opportunities for getting to know kids and families all around our community. They are going to work hard. They are also going to play hard. We are on a mission to feed them as many different foods, introduce them to as many different cultures, and show them as many enticingly beautiful places as we can in just 13 days. We’re off to a great start.

Check back next week for the team’s perspectives and lots of photos. For now, we’ll let them rest. It’s 8:30 p.m. and I hear a lot of…. Silence. No surprise there!


Parting Shot

On the way home from the airport, we stopped in the small town of Pokeno, where two ice cream shops next door to each other compete for the best ice cream at the best price. Little boy heaven.

On the way home from the airport, we stopped in the small town of Pokeno, where two ice cream shops next door to each other compete for the best ice cream at the best price. Little boy heaven.

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